Drax is to kick-start the planning process for its proposals to build bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology in the UK, marking a major milestone in the project.
The firm has already transformed its power station near Selby in North Yorkshire to become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, having converted it to use sustainable biomass instead of coal. Now, it has ambitions to go further by using BECCS to permanently remove millions of tonnes of CO2 each year from the atmosphere and create a negative carbon footprint for the company.
To deploy its negative emissions technology, Drax must secure a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the government – a process which takes around two years to complete and will get underway in March.
“Kick-starting the DCO process this March is a landmark moment in deploying BECCS at Drax and delivering against our ambition to be a carbon-negative company by 2030,” said Will Gardiner, Drax CEO.
“At Drax, we are very proud of the great strides already made in transforming the business to become the UK’s largest single-site renewable power generator, producing enough renewable electricity for up to four million homes and protecting thousands of jobs in the process.
“With BECCS we can go even further – we will be permanently removing millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and making a significant contribution to efforts to address the climate emergency while creating thousands of new jobs and supporting a post-covid, economic recovery.”
If successful in its DCO application, and subject to the right investment framework from government, work to build Drax’s first two BECCS units could get underway in 2024, ready to start capturing and story up to 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
The first phase of the DCO application process includes an informal public consultation during March, when people can provide comments on Drax’s proposals via the project website.